Employers, are you keeping up with the latest benefit trends? With low unemployment rates, employers must work even harder to attract and retain talent. At the same time, employers also need to keep an eye on developments in relevant laws and regulations.
To help you stay up to date, here’s a look at the employee benefit trends expected to shape 2018.
- The ACA remains in force. Although the recent tax bill got rid of the individual mandate, most of the ACA remains intact, including the employer mandate. The IRS has started sending out Letter 226J to employers who owe ACA penalties. Offering health insurance – and keeping costs as low as possible – will remain essential in 2018.
- Wellness program regulations undergo scrutiny. Having a healthy workforce is good for employers and employees alike, and wellness programs have become popular in recent years. However, after the AARP’s successful lawsuit challenging regulations allowing incentives for voluntary programs, the EEOC is working on new regulations.
- Financial wellness is gaining attention. Physical health isn’t the only type of wellness that matters. More and more employers are offering financial wellness programs to help employees take control of their debt, savings and credit scores.
- Student debt is on many people’s minds. Student debt is a major barrier to financial wellness for many employees. Employers are taking note by offering benefits that help employees repay their own loans or save for their children’s tuition.
- Jobs get flexible. As employees try to find a healthy and enjoyable work-life balance, many of them value employers who provide flexibility. This can be achieved in different ways, including flexible hours that focus on accomplishing work rather than a strict 9 a.m. clock-in, flexible time off and the option to work from home at least part of the time.
- Paid parental leave is discussed. Under the FMLA, eligible employees are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the birth of a child and other qualifying events – much less than what employees in many other countries receive. A few states, including California, have their own parental leave laws. New York’s Paid Family Leave went into effect on January 1, 2018. Ivanka Trump has advocated for paid parental leave, and this is an issue that will likely continue to receive attention.
- Security is essential. Data breaches and ransomware attacks made news in 2017. In 2018, employers will need to up their security to avoid problems. In addition to avoiding viruses and protecting customers’ information, employers also need to keep employee information safe. Some employers are also helping team members keep their personal information safe by adding credit monitoring services to their employee benefits line-up.